HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s amazing what a couple of wins can do for a team.
Late last week all the talk surrounding the Detroit Pistons was about which holdover from their glory years would be traded first, Tayshaun Prince or Rip Hamilton?
Back-to-back wins over the Bobcats and Warriors silenced some of the trade chatter, but not all of it.
Prince’s name remains on the radar, mostly because of his expiring contract and the fact that the Pistons are loaded with small forward types … if they are going to turn the page and start over, that’s one spot they’d probably want to clear out for a youngster.
After bumping into one of my all-time favorite advance scouts in an arena hallway over the weekend, the trade picture came into much better focus for me on not only Prince but several other players around the league, and particularly the Eastern Conference.
“Detroit has to do something,” my scout friend told me. “They’re not going anywhere with the group they have. They know it and everyone else knows it. So Tayshaun or Rip, one or both of them have to be in play if they’re going to start the rebuilding process properly.”
I explained to my scout friend that I’d heard a great trade rumor (and it was strictly that, a rumor) about the Hawks and Pistons discussing a package to swap Prince (and another piece like Will Bynum, who cannot be moved until after Dec. 15) for Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague (which would be an interesting swap for the Hawks since they don’t really have great depth in the backcourt) and he kindly opened up about the state of affairs, as he sees it, in the East.
“I have to tell you,” he said, “the East has really been a disappointment to me so far. I thought several of these teams would be much better than they are. Milwaukee was supposed to be better than this. The Bulls, the Bobcats and even the Knicks. I’ve been all over the league since the preseason and I’m telling you, there are a lot of teams scratching their heads about what went on this summer with all the spending that went on. All the fireworks happened in the East. LeBron and Bosh go to Miami, the top three picks in the draft go East and yet Denver, New Orleans and even Golden State jump out at you as the teams that really look like they are ready to do more than what people expected. The only team that really stands out to me as in the East is the Nets. Just having Avery [Johnson] makes them 10 wins better than they would have been without him. But there are going to be plenty of teams talking to each other and seeing if they can make some moves to try to get things in order, because the Celtics, Heat and Magic are still clearly a cut above everyone else despite all the movement that went on this summer.”
And to think, we made it through an entire hallway chat on trade rumors and there was not a single mention of Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul … it’s amazing what a few wins can do!